Fourth International George Gissing Conference 2011

“Gissing’s World within the World: Art and the Artist”

for gissing conf

for gissing conf

Monday 28 to Wednesday 30 March 2011
University of York, UK
With the support of CECILLE Research Centre, University of Lille

Conference focus

The specific focus of the York Gissing Conference will be an often-overlooked aspect of Gissing’s artistic philosophy. While many readers have emphasized Gissing’s almost sociological engagement with material conditions, Gissing saw himself as a more detached devotee of art “pure & simple.” In a famous letter to his brother Algernon (22 September 1885), he observed that the artist should “keep apart, & preserve [his] soul alive” because the natural environment of the artist is “the shade,” where he “can make a world within the world.” Papers will br presented on all aspects of Gissing as an artist, notably his engagement with late Victorian aesthetics and obsessive “detachment from the vulgarities of the day.”

Provisional timetable

Monday 28 March

9.00-10.30: Commercialism, consumerism and the production of art 1

Richard Dennis

The place of art in Gissing’s early novels

Emanuela Ettore

Beyond the aesthetics of  existence: the “nether world” and the negation of art

10.30-11.00: Break

11.00-12.30: Commercialism, consumerism and the production of art 2

Paola d'Ercole

Fashion and (Class) Identity in Late Nineteenth-Century Fiction:  George Gissing’s In the Year of Jubilee

Brad MacDonald

“A Place for Dreaming:” Contemplation and Artistry in George Gissing’s The Emancipated

Frederick Nesta

In the Age of Advertisement: George Gissing Advertises Himself

12.30-1.30: Lunch

1.30-3.00: Cynicism and pessimism

Debbie Harrison

Aesthetic Vision and the Abyss in Workers in the Dawn and Demos

Roger Millbrandt

The Art of Gissing’s Philosophy: Fictional Features of “The Hope of Pessimism”

3.00-3.30: Tea

3.30-5.00: Aesthetics and mechanisms of narrative

Meredith Miller

'That Fine-Moulded Hand which Was the Symbol of Life Made Perfect': Aesthetics and Desire in the 1890s

Anja Müller-Wood

Detached Reportage or “Good Exciting Drama”? Rethinking Gissing’s Aesthetics

6.00-700: Supper

7.15-8.45: Panel discussion: Teaching Gissing in the 21st century

Followed by wine


Simon J James (chair), Debbie Harrison, William Greenslade, Richard Dennis, M.D. Allen, Christine Huguet, Paul Delany

Tuesday 29 March

9.00-11.00: Envisioning women 1

Emma Liggins

“A Life of Mild Bohemianism”: Gissing and the woman artist in The Crown of Life

Christine Ferguson

After Nature: Mimesis and the Artist’s Model in Gissing’s Workers in the Dawn

Paul Delany

The Visual World of the 1884 The Unclassed

11.00-11.30: Break

11.30-1.00: Envisioning women 2

Randy Jasmine

The Land Beyond the Literal: The Natural World and the Feminine in the Work of George Gissing

Akemi Yoshida

Women Singers in Gissing’s Novels: Thyrza Trent and Beatrice Redwing

Jennifer Hamilton

'A certain beauty': Assessing and Undressing Gissing's Female Aesthetic. 

1.00-2.00: Lunch

2.00-4.00: Form and Narrative

William Greenslade

'This is a Terrible Harangue': Polemic and Form in Gissing’s Fiction

Lewis Moore

Experiment in Form: George Gissing’s The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft

Tom Ue

First-Person Narrators in Gissing’s Short Fiction

Lawrence Rainey

The Oddities of Gissing's The Odd Women

4.00-4.30: Tea

4.30-6.30: Gissing's engagement with other writers 

Constance Harsh

Reading Charlotte Brontë’s Mark on the Wall: Gissing’s Engagement with Brontë’s Artistic Example

M.D Allen

Gissing, Femmes d’Artistes and Artistes femmes

Rebecca Hutcheon

Tennyson and The Palace of Art: Aesthetics and Artistic Separation in the Works of George Gissing.

7.00: Conference dinner in Wentworth Private Dining Room

Wednesday 30 March

9.00-10.30: Gissing as critic

Christine Huguet

“Gissing and ‘Elaine’: Art Criticism and Self-Definition”

Maria Teresa Chialant

The Writer as Literary Critic: Gissing’s Works on Dickens


10.30 Depart for visit to Gissing house in Wakefield and Lunch
3.30 Leave Wakefield

5.00 Arrive York railway station, then on to University

The conference will also host Gissing-related bookstalls, notably The Idle Booksellers 


Booking closes on 17 March 2011 at noon.

Clicking here takes you to a link to the online store. Here you will create an account, and then you can make your booking.

Travelling to the University

For information about getting to the University, click here.

Location of the conference

The conference will be held in the Music Department. This is signposted Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall and is at the far western end of the campus (see campus map). If you are coming on the bus, get off at the Wentworth Roundabout stop (this is the first of the university bus stops if you are coming from town). Cross the road, climb over the grass verge, walk across the car park, exit the car park, bear slightly left, take the path in front of you, and you will arrive at the department. There will be a conference table in the entrance hall. The conference will take place in room 106. 


Registration will be held in the Music Department on Sunday 27th March  from 5.30 to 6.30, and on Monday 28th March from 8.30 to 9.00.

Checking into your accommodation

Single rooms on campus: You will be housed in Vanbrugh College. This is staffed until 19.00 on Sunday 27 March. If you arrive after this time, you must collect your key from Wentworth College. c

Double rooms on campus: You will be housed in Franklin House. You should collect your key from Alcuin College, which is staffed 24 hours a day. Please note, Wentworth College is where you will get your supper. It closes at 19.00, so if you plan to arrive after this time, eat something in town before coming to the campus!

Conference Organiser

Dr Nicky Losseff (University of York)

Advisory Committee

Prof M. D. Allen (University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley)

Prof Maria-Teresa Chialant (University of Salerno)

Prof Pierre Coustillas (University of Lille)

Prof Constance Harsh (Colgate University)

Dr Christine Huguet (University of Lille)

Dr Simon J. James (Durham University)

Anthony Petyt (The Gissing Trust, Wakefield)

Dr Bouwe Postmus (University of Amsterdam).